News / Africa

Sierra Leone Disputes Corruption Report

Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Sierra Leone’s government has rejected Transparency International’s latest Global Corruption Barometer report about the West African country.

The TI report said Sierra Leone had the highest incidences of bribery in sub-Saharan Africa. 

But Richard Konteh, President Ernest Bai Koroma’s chief of staff, says the TI corruption report demonstrates the anti-graft body’s misunderstanding of Sierra Leone’s cultural practices and norms.

“We turned to believe that the sampling was skewed,” said Konteh.    “In our culture, it is normal, if you want to get land from the paramount chief you go with what we call, kola.  You give the paramount chief the kola as a sign of respect, that is not bribery.  It is also part of our culture to show appreciation to people for good things that they’ve done to you, that is not bribery.”

In its report, Transparency International said 84% of respondents to its poll in Sierra Leone admitted to paying a bribe.

The government disputes the report as not being statistically representative, contending the sample size of 1,028 respondents in a population of about six-million people, the distribution of the sample population, and the sample frame was inadequate.

Konteh says Transparency International failed to take into account measures the Sierra Leone administration continues to implement to combat graft.

“The government has taken tremendous steps in the fight against corruption.  The president has outlined he will run a policy of zero tolerance of against corruption.  Anybody who is found guilty or indicted in his cabinet, he sacks,” said Konteh.  “We have given the Anti-Corruption Commission, the power to prosecute.  In the past, before they prosecute they had to go through the attorney general, [but] that is no longer a requirement.”

Konteh says TI’s report was insensitive to the government's continued graft fight and its efforts to attract foreign investments to improve the living conditions of Sierra Leone citizens.

“The MCC [Millennium Challenge Cooperation] commends Sierra Leone and that is why we have qualified for a contract with the American government.  They underscored government’s effort,” continued Konteh, “so a report like this coming at a time when we are busy trying to prepare for our MCC funding, will tend to distort the realities on the ground.”   

Transparency International interviewed 114,000 people in 107 countries and found more than half believe corruption and bribery has worsened in the past two years.

Robert Barrington, TI’s Executive director, was quoted as saying, “In terms of bribe paying, there are a couple of countries where three in four people say they have had to pay bribes in the past year.  That is Sierra Leone and Liberia.”

Meanwhile, trust in governments is also falling worldwide, according to Transparency International’s 2013 survey.
Clottey interview with Dr. Richard Konteh, presidential chief of staff
Clottey interview with Dr. Richard Konteh, presidential chief of staffi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs